Nov 20, 2007

Pride-Phosphorescent

"Pride" is a glorious thing of beauty. A long and bittersweet journey into places unknown. Full of sorrow and innate importance, this is music to dwell on, sleep on and revel in. Breathe in deeply and smell the flavour of poignant, tender shards of feeling. After the stirring "Aw Come, Aw Wry" in 2005, Phosphorescent returns with his most significant work yet. "Pride" is full to the brim of melancholy and slow burning tenderness. Effective and affecting, its many layers slowly reveal themselves, producing a work of earnest subtlety and refinement.

Phosphorescent is the nom de plume of Alabama raised and Brooklyn based Matthew Houck. The strength of his songwriting belies his tender age of 26. This is his first release on Dead Oceans and it is stunningly good. The gentle opener "A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise" doesn't give an idea of the majesty to follow. Most of the songs are mini epics, crackling and mysterious. Sad, but never maudlin. Each song features sparse instrumentation. A drum roll there, a strum of guitar there, instinctive sound effects which only adds to the feeling of unaffected grandeur. Holding all this together is the crumbling, sympathetic voice of Houck. His lilting voice cracks in all the right places. Its connection to your heart is devastatingly real. It has been compared to the great Will Oldham and although this is a credible comparison, his murmurs are singular and distinctly his. This is never more evident then on the sublime "Wolves" or the superb "Cocaine Lights", whose lyrics are quite simply some of the best I have heard in a long time. This song and many of the others cover themes of love attained and lost, redemption and forgiveness. Faded glory. The epic "My Dove, My Lamb" only reaffirms this theme. A song not to trifle with, its tattered style will melt even the coldest of hearts. "Pride" has a timeless feeling to it. You just know this music will sound just as relevant in 10 years time. It is music delivered from the heart by a messenger with the purest intentions.

Cocaine Lights lyrics

In the darkness
After the cocaine lights
I will miss you
More than ever

And to color my eyes into rose
Is to ask of my beaten bones
To be less of meat and stone
And more of feather

But lord they’re rolling me away
Ain’t they rolling me away
Don’t they roll oh oh oh
In the morning in the kitchen
I can hear my own blood clicking
So I stand there and I listen
Til' the glowing begins

There is light that pours sweet from new hips
There is beer that pours sweet through my lips
There is gold where the cold button sits
It’s just a showy amen

And in the hallway, in a slip
She says ‘hey, don’t you like my newest trick’
And I say “yeah that’s a pretty good trick
Would you show me again’

And lord I truly am awake
And lord, truly I am afraid
And, lord, truly I remain…

In the darkness
After the cocaine lights
I will miss you
With no warning

I will recover my sense of grace
And rediscover my rightful place
Yes and cover my face
With the morning

Available for purchase from Dead Oceans
MP3: A Picture Of Our Torn Up Praise-Phosphorescent
MP3: Cocaine Lights (Daytrotter version)-Phosphorescent

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